France to acquire Hercules transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin
The French Ministry of Defence has reportedly revealed plans to buy C130 Hercules military transport aircraft worth $650m from Lockheed Martin.
Under the terms of the contract, the country will acquire four C-130 aircraft including two C-130J transports and two KC-130J fuel tankers, reported Agence France-Presse.
The deliveries under the contract will commence in 2017.
France Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I confirmed the purchase a few days ago."
The deal is rumoured to have been struck following the temporary halt of the testing of Airbus-built A400M aircraft.
The tests were halted by several European and Asian customers due to an A400M aircraft crash in Spain during a test flight.
The C-130 is the US Air Force's principal tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft. It is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed to support airborne assault, search-and-rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, maritime patrol and aerial fire fighting missions.
Powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines, the heavy-lift tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft is capable of accommodating a payload of up to 20t, or more than 90 passengers.
The C-130 has been in continuous production since 1954 and more than 2,300 Hercules were built for 67 countries.
Used by 68 countries, the C-130s have logged more than 22 million flight hours.